Town of Provincetown
FY 2022 Budget
Division 3: Public Safety
The Provincetown Police Department is a full-service, public safety organization staffed by thirteen full-time police officers. They are trained, equipped and ready to work together in a team atmosphere handling any type of situation that may manifest itself. We are able to accomplish this task by utilizing a diverse group of employees who are highly motivated, well trained and committed to the highest ideals of the law enforcement profession. Our expressed intent is to use every available opportunity we can to contact citizens, visitors and community leaders in an effort to solicit their assistance in the continuation of quality police service.
The members of the Provincetown Police Department are dedicated to maintaining a high level of public confidence by ensuring that each member displays honesty, integrity, and sound judgment during their contact with our citizens, always recognizing their duty to protect and serve the members of our community. In addition, they respect the notion that law enforcement can be resolute yet compassionate - that the dignity of people can and should be preserved in the delivery of our services to the greatest extent that circumstances allow. We also acknowledge that policing policies must be conceived in collaboration with the public subject to those policies. We endeavor to live this paradigm of partnership.
The Department provides a high-quality of police service by fully utilizing department personnel and all available resources to address community-identified issues and concerns. They receive calls and dispatch for a whole host of both emergency and nonemergency public services, including the fire department, Lower Cape Ambulance/EMT service and the Animal Control Officer. The emergency 911-call center and department is fully staffed seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
Budgeting for the unknown…this time last year, we prepared and presented a proposed FY-2021 Budget that would meet the public safety needs of the community yet remained respectful of the bottom line. Then in March, everything changed with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. While financial concerns take a back seat to the health and safety of our community members and town staff, the town’s revenues and expenses will most certainly be impacted by this crisis. Every effort has been made to implement all appropriate measures that will maximize the productivity of our organization and deliver the highest quality of services within available resources. Our entire management team has worked collectively to implement creative ways of doing more with less. We remain committed to maintaining the high quality of life our residents expect and deserve. The presented police budget represents a tremendous amount of work by my staff and I would like to thank all those responsible for its successful completion. I am confident that this year’s FY-2022 Budget helps ensure that the needs of the Provincetown community will be met, while we navigate this uncertain future together. The economic impacts of the COVID-19 are significant worldwide and our community is not immune to these impacts. However, while we are all weathering the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. We have solid financial policies that we have adhered to, that now can help with our financial recovery. Sir Winston Churchill is credited with first saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” While governments around the world are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic, I believe we can use this opportunity to grow and change so we can emerge from this crisis even better than before.
We will continue to do all we can to lessen the burden that this pandemic has on our residents and visitors. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to play a role in the continuing success of this great community.
The payment of overtime allows for the fluctuation of manpower in a seasonal community like Provincetown. We track the specific categories of overtime costs and all overtime must be approved by a supervisor and is tracked at three levels at the police department
Tracking includes benefit time, attendance in court, at meetings, time beyond shift for investigations and reports. Some examples are:
VACATION TIME: is something that expands with time. Employees earn vacation time with longevity, earning up to 5 weeks after 20 years of service. Even with a contractual limitation of only one employee per day allowed to use vacation or compensatory time for the busiest part of the year, legitimate sick time, personal time use of vacation, compensatory or personal time make scheduling difficult. Currently, about 70% of all police employees have less than 5 years of service. Authorized leave time will increase as seniority of personnel increases.
COMPENSATORY TIME: the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) declares compensatory time may be offered to an employee in lieu of overtime payments. However, giving out compensatory time does not necessarily save on overtime costs, but postpones the inevitable and creates another bank of time to manage. Another condition contained in the (FLSA) use of compensatory time instead of cash overtime is the requirement that it allow an employee to use his or her accrued paid time-off “within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the public agency.” The town must allow an employee who has requested the use of accrued compensatory time to take time-off absent an undue hardship, the Town having to pay qualified employees overtime to fill the vacancy created by its use is not sufficient cause to deny its use.
COURT OVERTIME: is managed aggressively by the Court Liaison and the Chief of Police checking with the District Attorney’s Office and seeing that they have a reasonable approach in marking up a certain number of cases for trial on the same day. This approach reduces the number of times an officer shows up for court and is told the case has been postponed and is released with a minimum contractual overtime payment.
INVESTIGATIONS: involves overtime when an officer needs to complete a report, as when an arrest may happen late in the shift. However, the vast majority of overtime costs in this instance are used in the detective office for follow-up work on cases such as: sexual assaults, narcotics investigations, house and business breaks, search warrants, etc. All possible report writing is done on shift to contain these overtime costs.
TRAINING: involves overtime every time an officer needs to attend professional training and he or she is not in their normal respective shift. We do assign the officer’s to an administrative schedule if they attend training that is a week or more in duration. This arrangement may still cost overtime to backfill the officers shift while he or she is at training class. Training is the best investment a community can make in its police officers; it must remain a top priority.
We ask for your continued support of our training initiatives. Untrained police officers are a recipe for disaster. Improper use of force and false arrests could cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits. While the modified State budget has marginally increased funding of the Municipal Police Training Committee, it was dramatically less than was requested. At this point, they will be able to accomplish basic recruit training, specialized training and veteran officer in-service training, but all additional professional development will be left in the hands of individual departments.
A collaboration among area law enforcement agencies resulted in the creation of the Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council (CCRLEC). While this organization’s main purpose is mutual aid to members in need, they have been able to provide specialized training at reduced rates and have saved on transportation costs and fees by bringing the training to our area. The CCRLEC now has teams in place for SWAT, Motorcycle Unit and Crash Investigation. These units are available in emergencies when member departments do not have sufficient manpower.
The police department sends officers to classes that include COBWEB (bicycle training for police officers), field training officer school (to have trainers on-hand for new police officers), internet safety, narcotics investigations, sexual assault investigations, fingerprinting and basic crime scene schools, use of firearms, dealing with those with special needs, suicide prevention, first aid, CPR, AED, interview and interrogations, accident reconstruction, SWAT and cell phone forensics. As technology changes, so do the training requirements.
Policing is not a static situation. Changes in criminal law, criminal procedure, motor vehicle law and many other areas are affected by court decisions and changes in statutes constantly. Police Officers must be trained in these areas and many others on a regular and continuing basis.
The use of specialized training, in addition to providing professional development for our employees, lifts the morale of individual officers and makes the department stronger at the same time. This training must continue so that at least two officers have training in any area of specialization. Failure to train is unacceptable and may result in costs that far outweigh training costs. We must keep our officers well trained, well-disciplined and safe.
This budget material outlines the Provincetown Police Department’s FY-2021 financial plan as presented to the Town Manager. With this documentation we endeavor to provide for you an overview of our operating budget request and identify our rationale for each entry. I hereby submit it to you for your thoughtful review and will be pleased to answer your questions.
I trust that you will agree with me that it represents our commitment to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Major Accomplishments for 2020
As you know, the COVID‐19 virus pandemic was a tragedy that none of us could have predicted.
The Town of Provincetown was an early leader and proclaimed a Local State of Emergency with accompanying local health orders regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Town staff representing many distinct disciplines continue to monitor and speak with Local, County, and State health experts as well as review guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Their health expertise and guidance were critical to the community’s planning and response to the coronavirus. On March 11, the coronavirus outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Town employees worked hard this past year to provide a safe, secure, and healthy community. Never has their work been so vital as during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. While every department stepped up to serve our community in the most effective ways possible during this very uncertain time, your police department employees stepped firmly into the breach to be at the forefront of our community’s outreach and critical health response. Although protocols were changed and public access to facilities was limited, we remained open, on the job and never did a task go undone. From the 1,713 dedicated safety mask patrols to our expected seasonal revelry your police officers will continue to seek opportunities to inform and educate our residents and visitors about the requirements of the health order to keep everyone safe. I am grateful to our police team who work very hard every day to deliver exceptional services in the midst of a pandemic. Even though many in-person events were cancelled this year, your police officers continue their progressive track to be more focused, more proactive and more outgoing. They continue to collaborate with our community, its citizens, businesses and visitors.
While 2020 has been an unprecedented and challenging year, we continue to face levels of uncertainty that seem never-ending, impacting the health and wellbeing of our residents, and increasing demand for the services the town and other levels of government provide.
Liaison with the Racial Justice Project in Provincetown and supported all peaceful protests.
Assisted with the regional efforts of the volunteer gun buyback program.
Managing local pet food pantry donations.
Offer community-based CPR training for interested persons.
Provided community security assessments and briefings for requesting civic groups.
Escorted the Easter Bunny on its planned drive-thru Provincetown.
Stocked and then delivered pumpkins/safety equipment for community trick-or-treating.
FY 2022 Objectives
The Provincetown Police Department has embraced a community-oriented policing philosophy that uses a cooperative approach to meet the safety needs of our community.
Community policing is perhaps the most misunderstood and frequently abused theme in police management these days. In the past few years, it has become fashionable for police agencies to initiate community policing, often with little notion of what that phrase means. Indeed, all manner of organizational tinkering has been labeled community policing but community policing is not a program. Instead, community policing is a value system which permeates at every level within a police department, in which the primary organizational goal is working cooperatively with people, groups of people, and both public and private organizations to identify and resolve issues which potentially affect the livability of our community as a whole. Community-based police departments recognize the fact that the police cannot effectively deal with issues alone and must partner with other stakeholders who share a mutual responsibility for resolving problems. Community policing stresses prevention, early identification, and timely intervention to deal with issues before they become unwieldy problems. Individual officers tend to function as general-purpose practitioners who bring together both government and private resources to achieve results. Officers are encouraged to spend considerable time and effort in developing and maintaining personal relationships with our residents, its visitors, businesses, the IB World School, and community organizations.
Arrests are inevitable, but they are merely a reaction to a problem. Community-based policing, ethically based and orchestrated, is an enduring solution to just about any problem.
Massachusetts Police Accreditation
The Provincetown Police Department has made a commitment to the process and has entered into a multi-year commitment with the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program Commission. The Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program originated on October 17, 1996 through an Executive Order of the Governor (No. 392). The program was administered by a state agency known as the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Association, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Coalition and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety. In February of 2004, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission transitioned from a state agency to a private, non-profit organization now known as the “Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc.”, hereinafter referred to as the “Commission.”
The Commission consists of an eleven member Board of Directors. Six (6) members are appointed by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, two (2) by the Coalition of Accreditation Managers of Massachusetts (formerly the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Coalition), one (1) by the Massachusetts Municipal Association and one (1) by the Massachusetts Police Association. The Eleventh member is elected by a majority of the Board of Directors and must be affiliated with an academic institution. The Commission’s objective is to encourage the highest level of professionalism and integrity in the delivery of police services within the Commonwealth. To that end, the Commission develops standards for police voluntary certification and accreditation. It determines which standards are mandatory and which are optional, and oversees an assessment process by which agencies demonstrating compliance with its standards which evaluates and critiques the department's policies and procedures, operations and facilities. It begins as a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession.
PARTNERSHIP: Community Crisis Intervention
Mental illness, addiction problems, and homelessness have all affected policing in every community. Often these issues are intertwined and we are not immune to these issues here in Provincetown. The Department built upon its efforts over the last 3 years to effectively and appropriately respond to persons with mental health issues or those in crisis.
At this time, all of your front-line police officers have attended 40-hours of Community Crisis Intervention Training sponsored by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).
In addition to police-specific training exercises, the program features presentations by community service agencies, agencies that can become resources for the police in developing solutions for the mentally ill or challenged people encountered in community policing. For example, there is a presentation by the medical director of the Behavioral Health Unit at Cape Cod Hospital on how to get people into the hospital for the care that they need. Other agencies including the DMH also give presentations.
The objectives of this 15-year evidence-based program include:
- To outline strategies to develop innovative and effective responses by public and private agencies to individuals who have mental illness, developmental delays, and/or substance abuse disorders.
- To identify points of interception where community interventions can be made to prevent an individual with a behavioral health disorder from entering or penetrating deeper into the criminal justice system.
- To identify community agency/department resources and limitations while clarifying roles and responsibilities.
- To demonstrate the benefits of enhanced communication, including information sharing, among law enforcement and community stakeholders.
- To outline the value of cross training among disciplines including law enforcement, courts, mental health workers, schools and other community-based agencies.
This time last year, we also sent all of our call takers (Emergency Telecommunicators) to an 8-hour course titled Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Personnel. I trust that tools like Mental Health First Aid will give our people the skills to recognize and respond to immediate crisis – and like first aid or CPR, allows them to stabilize someone and by extension help to de-escalate things during a crisis. Safely deescalating situations is, without question, now a critical mandate for our people and getting this information pre-arrival by our call takers seemed like the next logical step
Staff Professional Development
A quality police training program provides each level of staffing within the department the skill sets necessary to complete the mission they have been tasked with. This program includes training for Police Officers, Sergeants, Telecommunicators and the Administrative Support Staff, as well as for Seasonal Police Officers. The program covers state mandatory training, as outlined by the Municipal Police Training Counsel (MPTC), advanced training classes directed at a specialized field and provides for administrative flexibility to address changes in “best practices” for law enforcement. This program will also educate officers on Town by-laws, work place issues and provide them with training opportunities to advance their careers through promotions. These promotional training classes will not only improve an officer’s chances for advancement but provide a high standard of service and professionalism to the community we serve.